MEDA Blog

In Nicaragua, a 26-year-old has high hopes for her father's farm

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She is half the height of the plantain trees, but her ambition is immeasurable.

We are in Nicaragua, the land of the dragon fruit and the passion flower. Maria walks with us through groves of leafy green plantain trees offering welcome respite from the late-morning sun. Her sun-scorched farm is just a few too many kilometers east to catch a cool ocean breeze.

She doesn’t seem to mind. The 26-year-old leads us through field and pasture with long strides and a farmer’s cap. She has no time to bother with sun or sweat.

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Wisdom from Wally: 19 Tips for a Fulfilling Life

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Wally Kroeker is the editor of The Marketplace magazine, a bi-monthly MEDA publication. He recently passed the 30 year milestone as an employee of MEDA.

My grandson turned 16 this year and some members of my family invited me to pass on to him some of the secrets of my, uh, success.

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Why I Cycled 150 km to Support Women in Myanmar

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As a student in the University of Waterloo’s Kinesiology program, I am learning the study of human movement. That means I spend a lot of my time in labs looking at how humans move from a cellular and musculoskeletal level.

In the lab, Electroencephalography (say that 5 times fast) or EEG, is a tool used to learn what is happening in the brain by scanning it. 

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10 Reasons to support MEDA

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  1. We’re sustainable. We believe the best way to help the poor is by developing local institutions and businesses that have, as their goal, becoming independent of North American help. In other words, we don’t want our projects to depend on perpetual handouts from us for survival. MEDA’s goal is to start projects, nurture them as programs and then “graduate” them to become independent businesses that no longer need us. Like proud parents, we take satisfaction in the growth and independent businesses in places like Ethiopia, Ukraine, Tanzania, Kenya, Nicaragua and many other countries.
  2. We affirm the dignity and self-worth of people. Aid can erode agency and promote dependency. By creating opportunities where people can support themselves, a sense of personal agency and ownership is restored. They aren’t getting handouts – they’re working to help themselves and support their families. They aren’t aid recipients – they are our clients. It’s a business relationship, not a relationship built on charity.
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Empowerment Mainstreamed: Applying Gender Equity Across the ESG Standard

While impact investing has become a buzzword in global development in recent years, the concept and practice had been around for decades before the sector even had a name. To take one perhaps under-recognized example, Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) was launched as an investment club in 1953, when a group of North American Mennonite business people joined together to support the development of businesses in Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina.

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MEDA Business as a Calling Convention 2017

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What was the best part of convention?

“Sharing our stories and seeing God’s work through his people in so many ways.”

“The presentations were stellar.”

“Variety of seminars! So hard to choose one!”

“Being with like-minded people all focused on the same goal of supporting MEDA and business solutions to poverty.”

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Increasing Women's Access to Land: Committing to Change

PostEvent1Attendees at MEDA's Agricultural Land Tenure Forum in Wa, GhanaNovember 18th, 2017, marked a milestone for MEDA’s Greater Rural Opportunities for Women project (GROW). Together, Chiefs, Queen Mothers, landowners, community leaders, GROW’s Lead Farmers, Key Facilitating Partners (KFPs), the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Women in Agricultural Development, Male Gender Activists (MGAs) and opinion leaders met in Wa, Ghana to discuss the key land tenure issues for women. This event catalyzed a public discussion on the importance of land tenure for women and its impact on sustainable economic empowerment, resource management and food security. To read more about the background of this event, and why land tenure matters for women, visit this blog.

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The Future of Women’s Financial Inclusion: Three Key Takeaways from #MFWW2017

wwb 01croppedDesigning for Behaviour Change panel Last month, I had an amazing opportunity to attend the Women's World Banking 2017 Making Finance Work for Women Summit (MFWW). Over 300 participants gathered in Dar es Salaam from across the African continent and the globe, representing various organizations, institutions, and firms, to engage and deliberate on key trends, topics, opportunities and challenges concerning women's financial inclusion. I was inspired by the speakers and panelists who shared their stories, insight and vision for the future of women's financial inclusion.

In this post, I want to share three key takeaways I have reflected on after returning from the Summit. My hope is that they give a glimpse of the event and speak to my own learning about the state of women's financial inclusion and what the future may hold.

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Knowing How To Help - Data, Aid and Impact

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White foam washes gently up the beach on an idyllic Mediterranean island. In the darkness, a young woman struggles ashore. Clearly exhausted, she is missing many of her heavier clothes, sacrificed to the struggle to stay alive in the dark sea. But she is on shore now, and safe. For now. One treasure she has clung to – a small plastic bag with a few things tightly wrapped in it. It is the first thing she reaches for when she reaches the beach. Relief floods her body when she discovers that not only does she have the bag, but it is dry inside. The old Huawei smart phone shows a low battery warning and won’t start.

 

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5 Charitable Gift Ideas

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At Christmas, we pray for peace on Earth, and goodwill to all. Our work of creating business solutions to poverty makes a critical contribution to peacekeeping.

With your support, we create opportunities for social inclusion and both household and community cohesion, and work to ensure that the tools to build sustainable livelihoods are made available to marginalized individuals and their families.

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Increasing Women’s Access to Land: Advancing the Conversation

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*Update! To read about the results from MEDA's Agricultural Land Tenure Forum, visit this blog*.

On Saturday, November 18th, 2017, MEDA’s GROW project (Greater Rural Opportunities for Women) will be hosting a Land Tenure Forum in Wa, Ghana. The goal of this event is to bring together opinion leaders to discuss the issues surrounding land tenure for women. Attendees include Chiefs and Queen Mothers, landowners, GROW’s Lead Farmers, Key Facilitating Partners (KFPs), the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Women in Agricultural Development, and various community members. A well-informed advocate on formalized land agreements will facilitate the event and lead the discussion on the importance of land ownership for women, and its sustainable impact on economic empowerment in GROW communities.

MEDA is very excited for this Forum as it is an important step towards promoting land rights for GROW women. Women in Ghana’s Upper West Region understand that the return on investment into their small plots of land is lost with constant changes from one plot to another.

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Yes to YEBSP! A Cycle 2 Update

cycle2winnersEager entrepreneurs receiving their YEBSP grants

In August 2017, MEDA and Cuso International finalized another successful cycle of the Youth Entrepreneurship Business Support Plan (YEBSP) as part of the YouLead (Youth Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Access and Development) project. YouLead’s overall goal is to enhance sustainable economic prosperity for 7,000 young people who reside in 18 Local Government Areas situated in Nigeria’s Cross River State. The YEBSP grants are just one of the many activities designed to achieve this goal.

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Convention 2017 - Building Bridges to Enduring Livelihoods

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Vancouver.

Considered one of the top five worldwide cities for livability and quality of life, this bustling city on the Pacific coast is an exciting place to host our #MEDACon2017. This fall, MEDA is hosting Business as a Calling: Building Bridges to Enduring Livelihoods. What could be better than world-renowned speakers, fine dining, tours of local businesses and times for networking with emerging and seasoned leaders alike?

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Samantha Nutt: doctor, humanitarian & author

SamNuttEditIn this TEDtalk, Dr. Samantha Nutt, founder of the international humanitarian organization War Child, explores the global arms trade -- and suggests a bold, common sense solution for ending the cycle of violence. "War is ours," she says. "We buy it, sell it, spread it and wage it. We are therefore not powerless to solve it."

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#TravelBlog: Michael White roots out cassava

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We arrived in Mwanza in the morning – my arrival in Dar es Salaam was the night before (and our departure from Dar was in the dark too).

The locals have dubbed Mwanza, “Rock City” due to the sizeable granite boulders that seem to emerge from the ground. Some of them are precariously balanced on small boulders. One could liken them to naturally formed inukshuks (Inuit cairn).

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MEDA on the move!

MEDA is on the move. With projects in 60 countries around the world building on partnerships with hundreds of local leaders and businesses, there is no shortage of MEDA momentum as staff strive to alleviate poverty through savvy business solutions.

The flurry of activity is not limited to seemingly far-away corners of the world.

MEDA supporters in the United States and Canada interact with MEDA’s mission through an increasingly diverse lineup of year-round events utilizing local leadership.

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Interview with a development worker: GROW's Karen Walsh

GROWwebsite

Katie West: Let’s start with something easy. What is GROW?

Karen Walsh: GROW is a food security program that is looking at changing the lives of over 20,000 women and their families. The goal is to provide consistent access to food throughout the year – in every season.

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A New Era of Farming: Unlocking Innovations for Smallholders Via Non-Traditional Finance


 

 This post was originally published on Next Billion

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Green Finance: to bravely go where no-one has gone before…


Just like Captain Kirk, we are on a journey of discovery.

Individuals, communities, cities, countries, businesses and organizations are heading into uncharted territory - making brave and unique decisions to combat global environmental challenges.

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SSBVC: Let's Listen to Local Leaders

Sometimes, you don’t have to recreate the wheel.

At MEDA, we do our best to partner with already functioning entities and systems. Why start from scratch when you don’t have to?Our Strengthening Small Business Value Chains (SSBVC) project in Tanzania is one such example. Before we began working in Tanzania, we saw the potential of existing lead firms and decided to support and strengthen the business systems that were already in place and demonstrating how they could improve supply chains.

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